CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- USA Men’s Sevens Head Coach Alexander Magleby has named a roster of 16 players for a training camp ahead of the Hong Kong and Tokyo Sevens later this month.
Seven taxi squad players and ten full-time residents at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista will compete for a spot on the 12-man traveling roster, a group that the new coach will name on Wednesday March 14.
Andrew Durutalo, Mike Palefau, Miles Craigwell, Nu’u Punimata, Mark Bokhoven, J.P. Eloff, and Nick Edwards are all on the taxi squad.
Eloff, Palefau and Edwards are backs, while Durutalo, Craigwell, Punimata, and Bokhoven are forwards, although Palefau and Craigwell can switch. Magleby is almost spoiled for choice up front, but every player has an opportunity to make an impression at camp and make his case for selection to the traveling team.
“The focus right now is on getting the culture right - on the field, that means guys willing to do the hard work with utter urgency, no matter what just happened. We can build from that base,” said Magleby.
Magleby will address a gap in the back line caused by Roland Suniula opting out of his training contract early last week. The USA utility back decided to hone his skills in the fifteen-a-side game.
Suniula’s favored position of flyhalf is one that a number of current players can cover. Tai Enosa, Roland’s brother Shalom, Peter Tiberio, and Folau Niua are all comfortable at first receiver, as is newcomer, J.P. Eloff.
Although Shalom typically plays scrumhalf, Tiberio has been in good form and will provide a few options for Magleby in the backs.
A Rugby World Cup vet, former All-American, and two-time National Champion at Cal, Blaine Scully noted that the team has been very professional during the transition exhibiting the wherewithal to rise above distractions, despite the coaching change that took place last week following Al Caravelli’s resignation.
“It’s been a tumultuous couple of weeks … but that’s what happens in sports. It’s about having the ability to wipe the slate clean at any moment, and the guys have done a really good job of that,” Scully said. “We’ve been able to block out the stuff that’s been happening and prepare ourselves for Hong Kong and Tokyo.”
The team will depart on March 18 for Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Sevens will take place from March 23-25. The Tokyo Sevens is the following weekend March 31- April 1.
USA Men’s Eagle Sevens Pre-HK/Tokyo Camp Roster | March 11-20, 2012
Mark Bokhoven (Denver Barbarians; Ames, Iowa)
Miles Craigwell (Old Puget Sound Beach; Boston, Mass.)
Andrew Durutalo (Old Puget Sound Beach; Seattle, Wa.)
Nick Edwards (Sydney University; Sydney, Australia)
J.P. Eloff (Davenport University; Pretoria, South Africa)
Nu’u Punimata (Old Puget Sound Beach; Seattle, Wa.)
Mike Palefau (Utah Warriors, Salt Lake City, Utah
Full-time Residents at the Olympic Training Center
Garrett Bender (USA Rugby; Minneapolis, Minn.)
Tai Enosa (USA Rugby; San Diego, Calif.)
Colin Hawley (USA Rugby; Trowbridge, Calif.)
Rocco Mauer (USA Rugby; Cleveland, Ohio)
Folau Niua (USA Rugby; East Palo Alto, Calif.)
Blaine Scully (USA Rugby; Sacramento, Calif.)
Shalom Suniula (USA Rugby; San Diego Calif.)
Zack Test (USA Rugby; Palo Alto, Calif.)
Peter Tiberio (USA Rugby; Naperville, Ill.)
Maka Unufe (USA Rugby; Provo, Utah)